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Everyone loves adorable animals of all kinds. But if one cute kitten, puppy, or bunny is charming, a pair of them might be irresistible - and that pair can get even more lovable when they are mismatched.

Accordingly, here are our favorite interspecies animal couples…

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The Fox And The Hound

This Norwegian twosome is an unusual pair that became fast friends when they met during a walk the woods. Tinni the dog and Sniffer the fox play together as friends, despite being considered natural enemies. Love their unlikely story? Tinni’s owner plans to release a book filled with photos of the fox and the hound.

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The Lion, The Tiger, And The Bear (Oh My!)

Lions and tigers and bears might be a frightening trio, but this group of furry friends at the Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary in Georgia is frighteningly adorable. Baloo the black bear, Leo the Lion, and Shere Khan were all rescued together, and they’re perhaps the sweetest group of creatures in the sanctuary.

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The Husky And The Kitten

Siberian huskies and stripey little tabby kittens are both pretty adorable on their own, but Raven and Woodhouse together multiply the cuteness - look at how content they are together! Their owner brought Raven to the animal shelter to pick out his new kitten friend, and it seems that everything worked out beautifully!

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The Cat And The Owl

This Brazilian pair met when Cleo the cat’s owner took in Forbi the owl as a baby, and the two became fast friends nearly immediately. From natural enemies to the best of friends!

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The Cheetah And The Australian Shepherd

These two were adopted together at two months and they became fast friends, bonding over destroying their new home (puppies and cheetahs can be rough on carpets and furniture). But who could be mad at creatures as adorable as Sahara and Alexa!

There’s a lesson for humans in all this interspecies togetherness, and it’s pretty simple: no matter how different we are, we’re all on this planet together. So wouldn’t it be better if we all just get along!

 

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What's cuter than a mama duck with her ducklings? How about firefighters rescuing ducklings and returning them to the worried mama? That's just what happened when two firefighters responded to a call... of nature. 

In a video, captured by a bystander, a mother duck is seen pacing with just one little duckling while a firefighter fiddles with a grate. It seems that the rest of the ducklings fell into a storm drain below the street. 

Each time the firefighters rescue a little feathery bundle, they take it to the mother and when she doesn't budge they go in for another look. It takes some work, but all of the little ducks were eventually rescued. Once they were safely out, the heroes wrapped the whole family up and relocated them to a nearby pond. 

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It's a big win in the world of conservation when an animal or plant species has bounced back from extinction enough to no longer be considered endangered, and the giant panda has officially reached that status. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recently took the pandas off its endangered list and classified them as "vulnerable" instead. For many conservationists, however, the decision was rushed. 

The good news is that since 2000 the number of giant pandas in China has grown from 1,100 to 1,864, with 422 of them in captivity. There are also now 67 protected panda reserves, with two-thirds of wild pandas living in these reserves. This is all thanks to the decades of conservation efforts made by the Chinese government. 

17908 panda eatingleavesThe problem, as China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda conservationist Zhang Hemin has expressed, is that this decision may be premature. He and other conservationists worry that continued efforts and funding may slowly disappear, which could be harmful to further population growth in the wild, and potentially cause the population growth to stop or reverse.

"A severely fragmented natural habitat still threatens the lives of pandas; genetic transfer between different populations will improve, but is still not satisfactory," Zhang said in a report released after the IUCN made its announcement. "Climate change is widely expected to have an adverse effect on the bamboo forests, which provide both their food and their home. And there is still a lot to be done in both protection and management terms."

Shi Xiaogang, of the Wolong National Nature Reserve in southwestern Sichuan province, China's main panda conservation center, said it was positive that China's efforts had been recognized, "but as conservators, we know that the situation of the wild panda is still very risky."  

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The tiny bug with the unmistakable red coloring and black dots is one of the few insects that people are actually excited to see. The ladybug is universally seen around the world as a bringer of luck.

Incredible video shot by Rainer Bergomaz and posted by PCO Imaging allows us to see these little ladies in a whole new light. You can watch as the red protective shells split apart and the wings unfurl from underneath to begin flapping and lifting the small insect into the air. 

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We humans have bleeding hearts. We see what looks like an orphaned baby animal, and we immediately want to help it. But the reality is that wild animal wee ones rarely need human assistance. Perhaps it's because human babies are so vulnerable that it's almost unfathomable to us that other species don't hover over their babies 24/7. But the truth is that being left alone, even at a very young age, is an important developmental step for many species.

There's a variety of reasons why animals leave their offspring. Turtles do not need parental care to survive, and many species that are hunted as prey, like deer and rabbits, leave their babies to avoid drawing the attention of predators. Many times, if you see the baby, the mom may be hiding nearby where you can't see her. 

17551 LeaveWildlife Chirping BirdsNot only could the mother still be alive and well, and adequately caring for the baby, there are a number of other reasons why you shouldn't interfere with wildlife. The young could imprint on human caregivers and feel unnaturally comfortable around people, which could be detrimental to their survival in the wild.

Humans also cannot teach wild animals everything they need to know to survive on their own or feed them a proper diet like the mother would. Plus, the babies can carry diseases that are harmful to humans and any domestic animals in the home. And if those reasons don't deter you, it is actually illegal to raise wildlife without a proper permit.

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How to Spot an Orphan

So how can you tell if the furry/feathery/scaly baby is actually in need of help or just waiting for mom to come home with dinner? According to the Wildlife Medical Clinic at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, there are five telltale signs that a wildlife baby needs help. 

17551 LeaveWildlife Baby Squirrel1. Is the baby crying? Babies that feel safe and well fed will not make noises, so as not to attract predators. If they are making a lot of noise, chances are that they have been orphaned.

2. Are there bugs on the baby? Seeing lots of insects on a baby means that mom isn't around to take care of and groom the baby. 

3. Is the baby cold? If you see a wildlife baby shivering, it is most likely without a parent to keep it warm.

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4. Is the baby dehydrated? Young animals tend to have little fur or feathers, so if they're dehydrated, you'll be able to see their wrinkled skin.

5. Is the baby injured? If the baby is bleeding or unable to move properly, it can benefit from human help, even if mom is around.

If you find a baby that you truly believe needs assistance, call your local wildlife rehabilitator. These clinics, centers and individuals have the knowledge and permits to properly care for orphaned and injured wildlife. So the next time you find a rabbit's nest in your backyard or see a baby bird by itself on a walk, definitely keep an eye on it. But nine times out of 10 you should leave it be!

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